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Episteme

Abstract

Have scholars collectively failed to recognize the important role Darwin plays in James’s 1906-1907 Lowell Institute lectures on pragmatism? The goal of the paper is to elicit a “yes” verdict from the reader, although the author believes his study is insufficient for proving his intuition that Darwin played a central role in James’s thought in these lectures. The contention is that, given the importance of Pragmatism and the continued relevance of Darwinian science, it is worth the effort to read this classic James work in light of Darwin’s influence, in spite of Philip Weiner’s (and practically everyone else’s) lack of treatment when considering the relationship of Darwin and James. The paper presents evidence by analogy, authority, and synonymy, linking Darwin’s biological theory to James’s account of human knowledge presented in the Lowell Institute lectures.

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